Monday, October 25, 2010
Today or tomorrow we should finish the new corral for the cows to feed, drink and hang out behind wind breaks when they don't want to be scouring grass from the wind-swept fields. We poured the base for the frost-free water fountain and the feed troughs and have to finish stacking the 60 foot cottonwood logs around the perimeter.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
One pleasant surprise this meat season was to meet the Trim Family. Turns out that Mrs. Trim's father George used to fly me around Colombia forty years ago. They maintain a ranch and cattle in Texas so were glad to find local beef when they got to Alaska. Yesterday and today we process over 5000 pounds of beef.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
A couple have asked about how the bales get wrapped. In fact the dealer was amazed that the little thirty horse wonder he sold me was up to the job but it works great running around to pick up new bales while one is wrapping on the Irish McHale machine. If you click to enlarge the photo you can see the baler and tractor with the squeeze unit on the loader for picking them up.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Washington State Inspector Les Ecklund inspects one of the fields that is candidate for producing organic hay. This is a necessary step toward getting organic beef. It was surprising to learn that cattle can only become organic certified by being born under organic management. None of the mature animals in the herd today will ever be "organic"!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
After years of working with ear tags that fall out and are very difficult to read at a distance we put large numbers on collars on all the cows and calves. It will take a while to see if this is better but it for sure makes it easier to see who is who at a distance.
Friday, June 25, 2010
What happens when four cows are in standing heat at the same time? I've never seen this before but yesterday I saw four of them lined up waiting to be jumped. The only one not in heat was the pregnant Canadian at the end of the line. The entire herd will be very happy to see the bull next week!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Our very first calf of the season slipped over the cliff at the spring and fell 75 feet to the Matanuska River bed below. He survived but broke his back leg very high in the thigh. We donated him to the Buckinghams who put him out of his misery and butchered and hauled him back up the cliff.
We will be putting a fence across that spot.
We will be putting a fence across that spot.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Yesterday we activated a vacant piece of land between two hay fields and put in about an acre of berries. Hopefully they will give us an indication of potential for commercial berry production up here. We are using a commercial raspberry grown in Alberta and another from the Pacific North West USA. In all we will know a year from now what is best from four varieties of raspberries and six varieties of blueberries. They are all being certified organic. About half the root stalk is being stuck in outdoor nursery status to fill in gaps next year..
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Normal genetics predict that white genetics are dominant. Normally when a white bull breeds a black cow the calf is white. One would expect even more to get a white offspring from a white bull and a white cow but here is living proof that recessive genes stay in the gene pool. Our most skittish cow dropped this little black heifer during an afternoon snow flurry in the farthest corner of the pasture. I found yesterday's little bull tucked down on a southern slope about a mile from mom who was getting dinner at the hay pile.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
This little heifer showed up while I was in Juneau the 17th or 18th. The morning I left I followed the mom through nearly knee deep snow for over a mile before I found her. She was obviously looking for a place to give birth. She is one of those kinds of mothers that will stay away from the rest of the cows for at least a week to bond and give that calf a solitary start. She obviously has plenty of fat to support that lifestyle. Unfortunately her calf will probably also inherit the independent wild spirit of her mother.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Last night we had the second highest snowfall for the month of April on record. Nice weather to welcome a new little heifer to Arctic Tierra the Beta Matriarch of the band. No cattle I know are better equipped to be born into this kind of an environment.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Imagine the shock of coming from the womb to three inches of snow! The first calf was a bull with red points. The second a heifer with dun points daughter of Arctic Chloe the Alpha matriarch. We will begin feeding them away from the barn site which is beginning to get too sloppy for new calves.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Last Friday we finally got everything lined up to preg test the heifers. Dr Holland confirmed that everyone is bred. That is good news for the cows and the meat prospects for next year. The bad news is that those persons who did not get meat this fall will have to wait until next fall. They will be at the top of the list. Thanks to all that were so patient through this process. We got into weather and conditions that just made it impossible to finalize things until now.